Life is a gift. Use it or lose it …

So, I’m a little late on the the whole “look back/look ahead” post that comes at the end of the year, but I was too busy celebrating the holidays to take the time to sit down and think about it! So, better late than never, right?

Last year I wrote about some thoughts on 2008, and as I wrote them down I found myself wondering how in the world I could top 2008. I mean, I had run a 10K, hiked a mountain, and written a book …

So, without further adieu and without elaborating incessantly, I look back at 2009:

On exercise: Ran my first half marathon and my first marathon. Got a bike and rode in the last half of the year (though not enough; I was too busy training for marathon). Total workout distance for 2009: 1,368.35 miles (mostly running, followed by a little biking, a little walking, a little hiking). I think I would have saved somewhere in the neighborhood of $665 in gas money, had I been commuting by bike or foot to something. And sometimes, I was. Although I still hope against hopes that the Charlotte area will get better and better for cyclists and runners (We need sidewalks! We need bike lanes!). Did great the first half of the year for strength training but didn’t do nearly enough after the running bug took over.

On writing: I fell down on the poetryassignment front. Thankfully Heather is just as passionate about writing as I am, if not more so, and she was wonderful about keeping the art alive. I did write another book this year! I enjoyed it so much in 2008 that I couldn’t not participate in 2009. I did not take the same pre-planning time, so it was a completely different approach from the year before, but  it got done and it’s possible it’s a teeny bit better than last year’s. Yes, I am still editing both books, and no, you can’t read them until I think they are good enough to read!

On babies: The great part about not wanting my own children is I can absolutely spoil the nieces and nephews. Of course, I continued to hang out with my brother’s daughters, spending part of a week with them in October so he could take his wife to Mexico for a pre-anniversary trip (Thunder Road Marathon, which he ran as well, was on his anniversary weekend, so he better have done something good!) And my sister and her husband had their beautiful son, Cai, on July 31 – and I was there! And my brother-in-law, Gray and his wife Katie announced their good news – they are expecting! I suspect that June of 2010 will be very exciting …

On traveling: After not one, but two fabulous trips to NYC in 2008, I am sad to report I did not get to go at all in 2009 – a first not visiting my favorite city in a long time. I did get to go to Florida and Washington DC to visit both sets of in-laws, and another trip to Florida to see my brother-in-law, Casey, get married. Went to Dallas to move my parents back to Charlotte. Spent Thanksgiving with family in the Outer Banks and also had some fun weeks/weekends in Athens, Brevard, Greenville, Asheville, Greensboro. Not enough traveling for my liking but I’ll just call it “taking it easy” this year …

On graphic design: In 2009, I continued to create lots of fun memories for clients and loved ones, including magazines and book covers and advertisements and fliers. I love the work and often my biggest complaint is there’s not enough time in the world to create all the things my brain wants to create. Among other treasured projects, I got to design a wedding book for a bride who happens to be a very treasured childhood friend, Jenny. Being so front and center at her wedding was an amazing experience.

On home: My dogs are inside dogs now, which makes me so very happy. Decorating the house has taken a back seat to other financial priorities, such as running and camping gear, so that explains why my bedroom looks like this. I don’t mind, though, it’s all about priorities …

Thoughts on 2010:

On exercise: More, more, more! Have already elaborated on the running, biking, swimming front here. Also preparing for a Mount Mitchell trip next weekend. Recently purchased a ton of new gear which prompts me to think: More Hiking! Definitely.

On writing: Definitely putting a priority on two Very Important Things in 2010:  Priority 1. My grandmother’s memoirs. We have been working on them but it has not been as important as it should be. That changes right now. Priority 2: Editing my books. I’m dying for you guys to read them! But I refuse to let you until they are perfect. After that, I pledge to pay at least a little bit more attention to poetryassignment – creativity is a gift. You don’t use it, you lose it.

On traveling: As much as possible! Trips to Asheville, DC, Greenville,Wilmington, Charleston and Florida already in the works for the first 3 months of the year (gulp, as I read that last sentence). Would also like more time in Athens, New York City (of course!) and anywhere else that money and time can take me …

On babies: Absolutely cannot wait for June and the newest baby’s arrival. Will try to make even more time for the children this year – I love every moment with them.

On graphic design: Continue doing what I love. Finally get the portfolio done for my business web site. Create, create, create.

On home: I love my home just as it is, even without bedroom furniture. Of course, some would be nice, but only after all the hiking/running/traveling/fun is paid for!

On life: My grandmother has a quote hanging in her house: 

The purpose of life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave with a well-preserved body, but rather to slide in sideways, completely used up, yelling and screaming, what a ride! — Author Unknown

Hell yeah.